I'm not one to bust out a lot of the "I saw them when" stories, but I'm really glad to see that Battles is continuing to grow and evolve.
Here's David Byrne's thoughts on the band, when he saw them recently. Pretty apt, I suppose.
But now for my story: this band played a show at Gardner Lounge, at the small four-year school in the midwest I attended. It was the basement of a dorm I lived in--not the trashiest, drug-infest dorm on campus (I lived in that one too), but close to it. The rugs in the lounge were sticky and black with beer and ash, and there was always someone sleeping or copulating in it, yes in the beer and ash... I'm sure you know the sort of place. It was actually a great show space though, with a built in riser-sort of platform at one end, absolutely dark, and big enough to either have a close show of 15-20, or fit as many as 200. Some bands played there that have since gone on to be famous (I think Smashing Pumpkins was the one everyone talked about), and of course some bands that were never heard from again played there. I remember hearing a few members of well-known indie acts yelling at the concerts committee head, "this place is disgusting, we will never play here again, what is wrong with you people," etc. I think my best memory of the lounge was a performance of some friend's hardcore band, which devolved into inebriated wrestling in the pit. Not moshing, crowd surfing, whatever, but wrestling. With guitars.
[45 min break]
I was trying to find a picture of the lounge, but I couldn't. I put out a call to knowing parties, hopefully I'll have one soon.
So anyway, Battles played there, back when they only had two EPs to their name. It was pretty awesome. This was one of only two shows I've ever been to, after which I was inspired to buy a CD from the merch booth. It was the B EP, which I bought per the guitarist's recommendation. At the time I was listening to a lot of Tortoise, and this hit me perfectly.
The cool part of the story is actually not my story, but my girlfriend-at-the-time's. She bartered doing the band's laundry for a free T-shirt. I helped. It was smelly. The T-shirt she got featured a picture of a hot dog "ejaculating" a bunch of mustard to spell "Battles". I think the band then crashed at some of my friends' house, where they played final fantasy, or Legends of Gaia, or something like that. That might have been another band, though.
Here are a couple more videos. These are songs (though not performances) from the era they played Gardner. If you don't know Battles, hang in there, when the songs break out is really where they turn awesome:
I like the second one especially, because the view is much like what I remember from the show.
Predictions for 2012
5 years ago